“Situational Analysis” is a series of articles that seeks to examine the circumstances that most often influence an NBA prospect’s success. Each player will be scored on a scale from 1-10 in four different categories: NBA-specific skill(s), fatal flaw(s), collegiate/overseas/pre-NBA environment, and ideal NBA ecosystem.

Sterling “Scoot” Henderson is a 19-year-old power guard from Marietta, Georgia, who averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game for the G League Ignite. He is expected to be selected either second or third in this year’s draft. NBADraft.net currently has him projected at No. 3.

NBA-Specific Skills

What separates an actor from a movie star? How about a singer and a pop star? You can’t say exactly what it is, but your eyes often know the answer before your brain does.

It’s charisma. “It” factor. Wow. You either have it or you don’t. Scoot Henderson has “it,” and he might have more of “it” than any other prospect in this draft.

Here’s what I mean: Remember back in October when all of us tuned in to watch Victor Wembanyama’s Metro 92 squad take on Scoot’s G League Ignite in a made-for-TV event in Las Vegas? Wemby obviously delivered the goods – and then some – but even the most hardcore Wemby fanatic couldn’t help but sneak a glance or two at the 6-2 guard who plays like he has rocket boosters attached to his ankles.

Henderson just turned 19, and he already carries himself like an NBA superstar. It’s not an unearned cockiness, either – that would be off-putting. Henderson has the casual confidence that only comes with that “it” factor. He knows every set of eyeballs in the room is trained on him, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

He has everything a team would want from a lead creator – explosive first step, excellent court vision, the ability to bounce off bodies and finish in traffic, incredible start-and-stop agility. His defensive upside is outrageous, as well, thanks in large part to his 6-9 wingspan and enormous, Kawhi-like hands.

It’s a guard-heavy league right now, but it won’t be long until Scoot is battling all the household names for All-NBA recognition.

On a scale from 1-10, Scoot Henderson‘s charisma rates at a 9.

Fatal Flaws

Let’s talk about the jumper – or lack thereof.

Scoot’s entire future rests on his ability to knock down open jumpers. He connected on only 27.5% of his 3-point attempts with Ignite on just under three attempts per game. That subpar volume and efficiency will hinder his ability to get to the rim against NBA defenders.

No guard, no matter how athletic and charismatic, can perform at an All-Star level if every defender feels comfortable going under screens. It disrupts everything – ball movement, driving lanes, teammates’ ability to cut. His percentage on 2-pointers (46.5%) is solid, showing that he has the foundation for efficient offensive output. He will need to add at least 7-8 percentage points to his 3-point number to get into the All-NBA conversation, however.

Players with Scoot’s work ethic, athleticism, and determination often make the necessary improvements, but it is something that will require extra attention from his team’s coaching staff for the duration of his rookie contract.

On a scale from 1 (not a concern) to 10 (serious hindrance), Scoot’s inefficient jump shooting rates at an 8.

Pre-NBA Setting

Scoot has been a basketball sensation since he was old enough to jump.

He comes from a rich lineage, with several siblings in Division 1 hoops and a father who knows his way around a gym. It didn’t take long for him to catch the attention of Georgia basketball fans, as he earned essentially every accolade a player can earn. He was a consensus top 10 recruit among last year’s class (headlined by Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Shaedon Sharpe, etc.) before reclassifying and electing to take the G League route instead of college.

With Ignite, Henderson showcased all the raw athleticism and point guard instincts that any NBA franchise would want. He took over lead guard duties right away, but had his season cut short by a nasty nasal fracture. Henderson appears to be in position to be Ignite’s fourth lottery pick, following Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Dyson Daniels. He is far from a finished product, but his time with Ignite showed what his game would look like against other NBA-level athletes.

On a scale from 1-10, Henderson’s pre-NBA career rates at an 8.

Ideal NBA Ecosystem

With Wembanyama locked in at No. 1, the real draft starts at No. 2, where Henderson will battle it out with Alabama small forward Brandon Miller. It was widely assumed that Henderson was locked in at No. 2 before Miller’s ascent on many draft boards.

The Charlotte Hornets need someone with Miller’s frame and skillset much more than they need a lead ball handler, given LaMelo Ball’s presence on the roster, but the Hornets also don’t need any part of Miller’s ongoing off-court issues. They could pair Henderson with Ball in a dynamic two-creator attack, but neither player currently shoots the 3 well enough to fully enhance that kind of partnership. The idea of positioning Henderson as more of a lead/scoring guard alongside Ball’s unselfish nature is fascinating, but it’s unclear whether the Charlotte organization could ever figure out how to make something like that work to its fullest potential.

The Portland Trailblazers currently own the No. 3 pick, but with Damian Lillard approaching the end of his prime, it’s exceedingly possible that the Blazers shop this pick and their other young talent for some veteran help. Here’s a hypothetical: James Harden heads back to Houston in free agency and Joel Embiid looks around and asks/demands Daryl Morey to get him out of there. Could anyone else top an offer of the No. 3 pick, Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Jusuf Nurkic, and however many future unprotected picks/swaps it takes to get Embiid to Portland?

In that scenario, Scoot seems like an ideal 76er. Not quite Iverson, but Iverson-ish.

If that scenario doesn’t take place, it’s easy to envision several teams calling Portland to pry away the No. 3 pick. Toronto (either Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby plus picks), Chicago (a combination of DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso plus picks) and Brooklyn (Mikal Bridges plus picks) are just a few of the teams that could make Portland an intriguing offer for the chance to draft either Scoot or Miller.

Of course, Lillard may decide it’s time to move on and the Blazers could start over with Scoot, Simons, Sharpe, and whatever haul they can muster for their franchise cornerstone. Or maybe Portland keeps the pick, keeps Dame, and Scoot gets to spend his formative years learning from the one of the best in the business.

On a scale from 1-10, Henderson’s situational dependence is an 8. He brings a much-needed jolt of excitement and athleticism to any squad, but he needs to be on a team that will put the ball in his hands and allow him the opportunity to develop at his pace while he is hard at work in the gym getting his jump shot in order.


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